Sit-Ups - The Exercise For People Who Don't Know Better

Today I want to talk about an exercise that I see every single day. An exercise that almost every personal trainer will teach you; that every glossy glamour magazine will promote, and that will likely do you absolutely nothing but harm.

I'm talking sit ups.

They are a stupid exercise, and anyone who tells you to do them, almost certainly hasn't done their research. Frankly, I am bored of seeing fitness professionals prescribe them. I can only assume that this is out of ignorance.

Let me be clear, if you are an office worker, or you sit a lot all day (and that's practically everyone these days right?) then the sit-up is one of the worst exercises you can do. Here, we're going to talk about what those reasons are and examine some superior alternatives to get you those rock hard abs that you crave.

Lets go!


Do Sit Ups "Tone" Your Abdominals?

Here's something you might not know. "Toning Up" isn't really a thing and muscles do not have "tone".

Below are ALL the qualities muscles can have...

  • Excitability = the ability to receive and respond to a stimulus.
  • Contractility = the ability to shorten.
  • Extensibility = the ability to be stretched.
  • Elasticity = the ability to resume normal length after contraction or having been stretched.

Note how the word "tone" does not appear anywhere on that list.


So What Exactly Is the "Toned" Look?

"Toned" is simply having a low body fat percentage. Lower levels of fat in the body, will in turn show more of the muscle structure underneath the skin. This is what people often call toned.

Here is a picture of Zhou Lulu the current Olympic champion and world record holder for weightlifting.

This woman is likely stronger than anyone you have ever met (male or female) and her sport requires huge amounts of abdominal strength. Yet you will notice that she has considerable fat around her abdomen. 

In comparison, here is a picture of Shakira and her abs.